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VW Leaning Toward Bulli Microbus Production

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On: Sat, Mar 12, 2011 at 11:20AM | By: Chris Weiss

VW Leaning Toward Bulli Microbus Production

In 2001, Volkswagen presented the Microbus concept, which it had planned to bring to production at the time. Unfortunately, production plans were scrapped earlier in the decade and it took years before VW gave it a second try with the Bulli concept, released earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show. Also unfortunate, Volkswagen's latest Microbus concept steps away from the classic design in resituating the engine to the front, a move that changes not only the driving dynamics, but also the look of the bus. Still, a Bulli is better than no bus at all.

And it looks like VW will inject some flavor into the van market. According to media reports, the German automaker is planning to bring the Bulli to market.

VW research and development boss Ulrich Hackenberg told Autocar that the Bulli is based on "the MDS [modular design system] platform," a platform that VW plans to start developing in Puebla, Mexico. The versatile architecture will underpin a number of models, most interesting of which is a production Bulli/Microbus. The modular platform will allow Volkswagen to design several makes and sizes of the Bulli, optimizing it for markets around the world.

The U.S.-spec Bulli will be positioned squarely against the Scion XB, a boxy, five-seat model that measures 167.3 inches in length. That is slightly larger than the Bulli concept, which measures about 157.1 inches in length. The Bulli concept also includes more room inside, seating up to six passengers with its two adjustable, three-seat benches.

Though the Bulli featured an 85 kW electric motor in concept form, Volkswagen indicated that it was designed to work with both gasoline and diesel engines. We'd expect the production model to debut with a small, efficient gas engine in the U.S.

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